Why are boys and girls turning away from maths?

10 June 2014

The Weekend AFR reports that just one in 10 students studied advanced maths in year 12 last year.

The newspaper reports that a gender breakdown shows nationally just 6.6 per cent of girls sat for advanced mathematics in 2013, which is half the rate for boys and a 23 per cent decline on the figure since 2004.

The Weekend AFR asked Dr Rachel Wilson to explain the trend.

"In a system where maths and science are optional, less motivated students are going to drop out, and we know girls are much less motivated than boys," said Dr Wilson.

"And because this situation has been growing over the last 10 years it is now critical. The numbers of girls participating are very, very low.

"Australia is quite possibly the only developed nation on the planet that does not make it compulsory to study maths in order to graduate from high school.

"We in Australia suffer particularly because there aren't any requirements to do maths in years 11 and 12. That means those who are disinclined drop out. This is a growing number of boys and an awful lot of girls."

Read the full article on the AFR website.

Media enquiries: Luke O'Neill: (02) 9114 1961, 0481 012 600,